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Rep. Moran to introduce exotic animals in captivity bill

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.
Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.
The use of exotic and wild animals would be restricted under a bill that Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., is scheduled to unveil today, according to a news release from Animal Defenders International.

The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is responsible for the care of zoo and circus animals, but local authorities are also involved in their care. Animal Defenders said in a news release that the group has evidence that law enforcement authorities have difficulty enforcing federal animal health, safety, and welfare laws, and that violations are common due to the mobile and transitory nature of traveling circuses.

Moran, co-chairman of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, is scheduled to be joined by TV personality Bob Barker and actress Jorgja Fox to promote the legislation.

Animal Defenders contends that large circus animals such as lions and tigers spend their lives cramped in small cages, and elephants are forced to live chained by one or more legs for hours on end.

In addition, the group says traveling circuses pose a serious threat to public safety, as the keeping of wild, stressed animals in close proximity to the public is dangerous. Incidents of circus workers and members of the public being killed and maimed by circus animals are well documented, the group says.

The group also noted that Bolivia banned animal circuses in February, and that bans or limitations on the use of animals in circuses have been adopted in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Peru, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, India and other countries. Similar laws are being discussed in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.